Many people raise chickens as pets or for food. Raising chickens is a great way to produce eggs, meat, and manure while also providing companionship. However, raising chickens can be tricky during the winter and summer months.
This blog post will discuss precautions that should be taken during the winter and summer seasons to keep your flock happy and healthy!
Raising Chickens: Precautions during Winter and Summer
Even though it seems like chickens are fragile creatures, they have certain characteristics that can let them survive through whatever weather may come. But you have to take note that not all chickens are alike.
While some can withstand winters, others preferred to sunbathe during summer sunshine. It will all depend on the weather that you are having when you decide to purchase the right kind of chicken so as not to waste money and time raising them and just have them end up in a chicken graveyard.
Winter Precautions to Take with Chickens
During wintertime or on cold weather days, never try heating your chickens just because you fear that they might catch a cold or freeze. You may find your flock dead in the morning.
Just think of all that hay or straw bedding? You are just asking for a fire if you pop a heater or two in there. Even if you are raising chickens for the food – you don’t want to roast them all at the same time.
F.Y.I., chickens can adapt to extreme cold conditions because their body can change their metabolism as the cold weather approaches.
The bedding you keep in their shelter should be more than enough to help keep them warm.
If you live in a place where winters are more prominent than summer or are literally winter all the time, you might as well take certain actions for your chickens that will not put any of your chicken’s lives in danger.
a. Frostbite on chickens
There is a risk that a chicken’s wattle and comb can be affected by frostbite. To avoid this, you can rub some petroleum jelly or any moisturizer every other day.
What is frostbite?
Frostbite is a type of injury to body tissue, most commonly the skin, and underlying tissues. The damage can be minor or lead to severe medical problems. It happens by exposure to cold temperatures, especially when the skin is wet or numb. The water in the body tissues freezes and expands, damaging the cells.
Frostbite can happen to any part of your body but it is most common in feet, hands, ears, or nose for people. We all know it often happens when people are outside for long periods of time without adequate protection from cold temperatures like gloves and hats, but chickens are vulnerable too.
b. Chicken Water Feeder
Look out for frozen water supply. You can’t deprive them of water. They will not drink from a frozen water outlet well, because they simply can’t. Chickens can’t take water with impurities. It must always stay fresh and clean.
You can take out a water heater so that the water stays in its liquid form. Or if you don’t have one, better bring the waterer inside the house then return it in the morning.
Summer Precautions to Take with Chickens
If you live in places where summer is the only known season, your chickens are prone to be exposed to excessive heat all the time. With this, they might be at risk of dehydration.
The only thing that you have to look out for during summer is that their water supply never runs dry. It must always have clean water.
Don’t let your chickens roam around without providing them a sort of shade. If there is no run, you can provide ventilation inside the pen.
During heat waves, hens would lay fewer eggs. If this occurs, it is a typical sign that your chicken is stressed because of the excessive heat. Have no worries though, their egg-laying tendencies will go back to normal once the heat recedes.
If things get worse, you have to observe the behavior of your chickens. What is manifesting? If you’ve seen that one catches a cold or is acting a bit odd, isolate the chicken instantly to prevent the further spread of the disease.
Just don’t forget to provide water and feed to the isolated animal.
Then, when things are manageable, consult with your vet. Tell him or her how your chicken/s are reacting.
Are they having:
Mites are a problem for chickens because they are often found on chickens’ bodies, around the vent, and under the wings. Mites can be transferred to humans if we have close contact with them. It is not only unsanitary but also itchy and uncomfortable for both your chicken as well as you.
b. Abnormality in the stool? (blood, worms, and/or white droppings)
Their stool is a great way to learn more about the heath of your birds. If you’ve seen changes in their droppings, consult with your vet immediately.
c. Sneezing and teary eyes?
Do chickens have allergies or get colds? They can be a sign of upper respiratory disease in chickens.
If you’ve found that one of your hens is sneezing and has watery eyes, consult with your vet because it might need some medication to recover from the said illness. You should also isolate the chicken for at least two weeks until good health is restored.
God forbid you have to deal with the bird flu with your flock!
d. Depressed Chickens?
Yes, chickens can get depressed. And that’s not all.
You should also be on the lookout for chickens who are straying from their flock, have a droopy posture, and appear to be uncoordinated in movement as well as appetite loss. This could mean they might need some medical attention or even rehabilitation if it has been prolonged. In these cases, specially made chicken products might be necessary.
e. Unable to mingle with the flock?
Whenever an animal isolates itself from a flock or herd , it is always a sign that something might be wrong. If one of your chickens appears to have an issue with its eyesight, coordination, or social demeanor, there is a high chance they are sick and need some medical attention.
The bottom line?
Tell your vet what you actually see so that he or she can give you the appropriate answer to your dilemma. These are only bits of areas that you have to ponder upon regarding raising your chickens in winter or summer atmospheres. It’s better to be safe than very sorry.
Raising chickens is a tradition that was brought to North America by the Europeans during the 1600s. In this blog post, we look at introducing new birds on the block: raising chickens 101!
The introduction of new chickens to an established group can be a tricky process. Introducing the “new” birds requires some attention and care, just like merging two restaurants into one when you have Italian food on one side and Chinese cuisine on the other – it’s bound to cause stress!
Introducing the New Chickens to Your Flock
With new chickens entering the flock, there is often tension between old and young hens. The newcomer to the chicken coop may not be accustomed to its surroundings or have a strong social bond within that group of birds. These tensions can lead to bullying behaviors among both newcomers as well as older members in more established groups which can cause injury for individual animals and damage long-term relations amongst flocks.
Many poultry owners who are ready to expand their chicken farm make preparations by importing birds from outside sources (such as other farms), while others take time waiting for eggs they purchased at auction sites like eBay, Craig’s list, etc., after being hatched by laying hens on one property -or even neighbors’ homes! Adding new breeds into your
I always thought that hens and roosters were only territorial in regards to certain areas of the coop. I never realized they could get so worked up over who was entering their home until now!
I have had many new chickens come into my flock over time, but it wasn’t until one newcomer would not let an old chicken take her water pan for a drink before things got intense. The newcomers are naturally trying to establish themselves by taking control or what they believe is theirs; meanwhile, the older ones will fight back as best as possible with whatever strategy will keep them on top like kicking out another bird from its nest space or splashing any perceived threat off-balance with feathers and water.
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Fret not, for this kind of attitude and feud lasts for only a couple of days. Adaptation can now take place. You can’t avoid this kind of predicament from rising but you can do certain adjustments that can make all of you happy and stress-free.
There are numerous peace-making strategies to help both parties adjust to each other. Isn’t it nice to see your new and old birds in one space without having to stop them from pecking one another?
Keep them close, but separate
One very good strategy is to let them see each other without having any physical contact. How? If you have a run (which is basically attached to the coop), you could put your old chickens there and then put a border (chicken wire) between the run and the coop. Put your new chickens inside the coop. This way, they are able to see each other minus the harm. Be sure that both parties have access to sufficient food and water. You can do this for about a week.
Another strategy is introducing the new chickens to a separate pen for about two weeks. This will give them time to get used to their surroundings and allow themselves some energy-saving at night without having so many eyes on them 24/hours a day in the coop area.
As transition day comes, that will be a week after the slight introduction, you can now “join” them in one area. You can transfer the newcomers to the resident flock’s territory during the night when all the birds are sleeping. Upon waking up, the old chickens will notice the new ones and they will, at any point, try to start a fight but will not because they are too groggy to initiate it.
One at a time
Introducing new chickens to a flock of old birds involves introducing one at a time. They are introduced by leaving them inside the coop with an older chicken for about two hours, so they get acquainted and comfortable enough that you can leave both together overnight.
The next day, introduce another one in between feeding times and repeat until all your newcomers meet up with each other before introducing them outdoors!
If this sounds like too much work, remember that introducing newly acquired chickens to an established group is very important to prevent any possible pecking order problems or territorial disputes. It’s best if done gradually but it may need some “dealing with” on certain occasions when everyone isn’t getting along as well as it should be.
Try distracting them
There are a number of distraction techniques that can be effective. This includes things like getting the older chickens out of their coop for some free time, or feeding them nearby to give the new birds a chance to settle in without being harassed by the old hens.
Some of the best distracting techniques are:
a. Cabbage heads can do the trick. By hanging a piece of whole cabbage just above their head, chickens will reach it until everything is finished. That is if they don’t get exhausted by jumping to it and reaching it.
b. Make the pursuit an obstacle for the pursuing party. Add large branches inside the run and coop. How does this help? It will make it more difficult for the old birds to get at the new ones.
c. Let them run around at a wider and freer range. The oldies will be so thrilled to dig for grubs and insects they wouldn’t even notice that there are newcomers roaming around.
There is no 100% foolproof way on how to avoid territorial disputes among your flock but there are strategies that will make it easier for everyone involved in settling down with each other. The best thing would be if all parties transitioned smoothly into their new surroundings without any problems or injuries but this doesn’t always happen (despite our efforts).
If it happened every single time, then we wouldn’t have had anything worth reading about! It’s best if done gradually but it may need some “dealing with” on certain occasions when everyone isn’t getting along as well as it should be.
Introducing newly acquired chickens into an established group of older birds requires patience (especially when introducing one bird at a time) but is worth the wait considering it offers less tension between hens as they adjust themselves to each other’s presence.
Several years ago, the bird flu spread quickly and infected birds all over the world. Every chicken keeper in the world was aware of the deadly effects of avian influenza.
The bird flu became the number one cause of death for chickens in Asia and around the world. The bird flu is thought to have originated in China. It killed millions of chickens and basically halted their chicken industry.
How to Prevent Bird Flu in Chickens
Although this is a strain of flu that spreads quickly among chickens, it can also infect humans. The virus can be passed from chicken to chicken, from chicken to human, from human to human, and from human to chicken. For this reason, health officials all over are taking this disease seriously to stop the spread.
Bird Flu in Chickens Symptoms
The bird flu in chickens is much more serious than a common cold. If just one bird gets infected, it can kill the entire flock within a week. If it is passed from a chicken to a human, that person can infect hundreds of people before they even realize that they are sick. Avian flu affects people of all ages, including children and the elderly.
If a human being gets infected, it can take about three to five days from the time of exposure to experience symptoms. The first symptoms or signs of bird flu in people are similar to the cold symptoms. The person may have a fever, sore throat, cough, or muscle aches. Some people will have conjunctivitis.
If the person doesn’t get treatment, the disease can quickly progress and get more severe. The bird flu can lead to viral pneumonia and even acute respiratory distress. These respiratory problems are the leading cause of death for people who get the bird flu.
How to Prevent Bird Flu
Raising chickens has several benefits, including fresh eggs and meat if you choose to use your birds for meat. However, raising a flock of backyard chickens also takes a lot of work. There are several problems that can arise, including avian flu.
One way chicken keepers can prevent the bird flu is by keeping the coop and their chicken area very clean. The World Health Organization (WHO) has studied diseases around the world, and they have guidelines for keeping you and your flock safe.
They are also in charge of tracking chickens and people who are afflicted with bird flu and studying how it travels. They keep records of confirmed cases and deaths from diseases. If there are a lot of cases in an area, WHO will put that area under quarantine.
When an area is in quarantine, people who are in that area will not be allowed to leave. Those outside of that area can not enter the area. It’s important for agencies, including WHO, to have accurate information otherwise more people and chickens will be affected, which can save lives.
Since avian flu can quickly spread around the world, governments also have strict rules if the virus enters their country. People in that area are asked to report signs or symptoms of this and other diseases and to be on the watch for potential bird flu cases. This helps protect both humans and chickens, and it can save many lives if those affected are quarantined quickly.
How Do Birds Get Bird Flu?
Avian Influenza can be caused by dirty conditions and exacerbated by cold weather. It’s important to determine what causes the bird flu so you can take prevention measures to stop the spread. As a chicken keeper, it’s less expensive to prevent bird flu than to treat it and to risk losing your flock or being infected yourself.
Although you can’t change the weather, it’s still important to recognize that cold weather can increase the risk of bird flu in your flock. Like human influenza, the bird flu is passed around quicker in cold weather. The birds tend to be closer together in their coop, and the virus quickly jumps from bird to bird.
To protect your flock, you can keep them healthy by supporting their immune systems. Feed them healthy food so they get plenty of vitamins and minerals to keep their bodies healthy. You can also immunize your chickens to protect them from some diseases.
A dirty coop can also help avian flu spread. Your coop and the area in their pen and around it should be kept very clean. Whether you use wood shavings or straw, clean it regularly to prevent contamination from fecal matter.
When you clean the coop, protect yourself by wearing rubber boots, gloves, and a face mask with a respirator so you don’t breathe in the dust particles from the litter. By keeping your coop and the area around it clean, you can stop the virus from spreading as fast.
What To Do If Your Birds Have Bird Flu
If you suspect that your chickens have avian flu, the disease can spread through a coop quickly. You should take precautions immediately to stop the spread. Wash your hands with soap and water every time you are near your chickens or in the coop. Even if you don’t handle your chickens or touch anything in the coop, wash your hands when you are done.
In addition to keeping your chickens healthy, it’s important to keep yourself healthy. Get exercise and eat a healthy diet to support your immune system.
If you suspect that one of your chickens has avian flu, call your vet right away. Your chicken can be treated with an antiviral medication to reduce the symptoms and the severity of the disease. However, these medications can not always prevent death.
Practice good hygiene when handling raw chicken in the house. Disinfect cutting boards with chlorine bleach to kill germs. To effectively kill germs, dilute 4 to 6 teaspoons of bleach in a gallon of water.
The bird flu isn’t a common condition for chickens, but it can decimate an entire flock in a matter of days. It’s important to learn the signs and symptoms of the bird flu so that you can isolate sick chickens and take precautions to protect the rest of your birds and your family. Keep your coop clean and practice good hygiene when you are around your flock to prevent the spread of this disease.
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Give your chickens treats? Like people, chickens like treats. If you have a backyard flock of chickens, it’s fun to spoil your chickens and offer them treats.
While humans like chocolate, candy, and sweet things as treats, chicken treats are usually mealworms, vegetables, or fruits. In addition to being tasty, offering your chickens treats alleviates boredom. When chickens get bored, they can start pecking each other and some breeds can get aggressive.
Some chicken keepers even train their chickens to come when they hear the treats so they can quickly call in their birds if one wanders too far or there’s a predator or inclement weather.
There are special chicken treats and mealworms available in pet stores. These treats are great options for your birds, but they can get expensive. Most chicken keepers turn to kitchen scraps for treats. Your birds will love most kitchen scraps, and they can be a good supplement for their diet and help combat boredom.
However, it’s important to watch what you give your chickens for treats. Although they can have several different kinds of foods, there are some foods that they can not eat because they can be harmful.
Best Treats for Chickens
Even though chickens aren’t the most intelligent animals, they do have their own preferences for treats. You might notice that some of your flock won’t eat certain things. Like people, chickens have their own tastes and preferences.
Chickens like yogurt, and it’s good for their gut health. Yogurt also has calcium that the chickens use for eggshells. In the summer, spread yogurt on a pan and freeze it. Then offer your chickens yogurt bark for a cool treat.
Give your chickens treats: Apples
Most chickens will happily eat apples. They like both applesauce and raw apples. Apple seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide, so be sure to core the apples before serving to your chickens.
Chickens love bananas, but they won’t eat the peel. Bananas are a good source of potassium, so it’s good for their muscles.
Broccoli and Cauliflower
Although your kids won’t think broccoli and cauliflower are treats, your chickens will. You can toss the whole head in the coop or hang it so they can peck at it. These are great boredom busters for winter.
Like heads of broccoli, heads of cabbage are great for hanging. The birds will peck at it and have fun chasing it as it moves around.
Give your chickens treats: Carrots
Chickens love carrots cooked or raw. They will even eat the leaves off of carrots if you grow them in your garden.
Chickens eat small bugs in the wild. If they get outside in the nice weather, they will often look for bugs in the soil. In the winter or if you just want to have fun watching them, get some crickets from the pet store and watch your chickens chase them.
If you give your chickens cucumbers, give them mature cucumbers because the seeds and flesh are softer.
Give your chickens treats: Eggs
I know, this just seems all kinds of wrong. You can also feed your chickens their own eggs. Avoid feeding them raw eggs because it could encourage them to eat their own eggs after they lay them. Instead, scramble them and offer them scrambled eggs.
Fish or Seafood
Give chickens fish or seafood sparingly because it can alter the taste of their eggs.
Chickens like marigolds, pansies, and nasturtiums. Make sure the flowers haven’t been treated with pesticides.
Chickens like most fruits like cherries, pears, and peaches. They also like grapes, but cut them into pieces because they can get stuck in their throat.
Give your chickens treats: Herbs
Chickens like fresh herbs. They will eat lavender, cilantro, mint, basil, parsley, and oregano.
Chickens love corn on the cob. You can simply put the cobs in the coop for them to peck at or hang them. They will get every bit of corn off the cob and leave a clean cob for you to clean up.
Chickens love watermelon. Buy it when it’s cheap in the summer and freeze it. Then give your chickens frozen watermelon to help them cool off. They also love fresh watermelon, but they won’t eat the rind.
Give your chickens treats: Oatmeal
Chickens really like cooked oatmeal. Simply prepare it with water or milk and serve warm to your chickens on cold days. You should feed them steel cut or old fashioned oats because they are less processed. You can also add fruits for more flavor and nutrition.
Chickens love pumpkins. Cut one in half and let them peck at it. They will eat the stringy part, the seeds, and the flesh. They will leave just the shell for you to pick up later.
If your girls are laying eggs, you can offer them more calcium by giving them cottage cheese. They will eat it plain, or you can add vegetables or fruit.
Eggshells are high in calcium, and chickens need to replenish their calcium to make more eggs. When you use eggs, let the eggshells dry. Then crush them by hand into about ¼ inch pieces. Then sprinkle in the run or offer with their food. Only give your chickens their own eggshells because other eggs can have bacteria that can harm your flock.
You can compost your leftover food through your chickens. Be careful giving chickens people food though. Don’t give them food that’s high in salt, sugar. or fat. Also, do not give them anything that is spoiled or moldy.
–>Chicken Treats to Avoid
There are some treats that you should not give your chickens. Some of these can change the taste of their eggs, and other foods can be harmful for your chickens.
Garlic and Onions
Garlic and onions can change the taste of your eggs, so avoid giving them to your chickens.
Avocado pits and skins contain persin, which is toxic to chickens. The flesh of the avocado is fine, however.
Avoid giving your chickens dried beans or undercooked beans. They have hemagglutinin, which can affect the bird’s digestion and cause it to get sick.
Rhubarb can act like a laxative. Rhubarb that has been damaged by cold temperatures can be high in oxalic acid, which can kill a chicken.
Offering your chickens treats is a great way to dispose of food scraps, and your chickens will enjoy a special treat. Chickens will quickly learn to come running when they see the scrap bucket heading towards the coop. With this guide, you’ll be able to offer your chickens safe treats to keep them healthy and happy.
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Raising chickens is a fun hobby and can lead to a nice, small income for those willing to put effort into it. Like people, chickens have to have lodging, and that lodging can come in all forms. You can buy chicken coop designs for as few or as many chickens as you plan to keep.
Chickens need a warm place to live. They need a place where their natural enemies can’t break in and carry them or their young away into the night. They need shelter when the weather takes a nasty turn. You’ll want to make sure you build a snug coop as drafty ones are harmful to chickens. If you’ve never built a chicken coop before, you can learn how to build the best chicken coop.
The Complete Guide To Your Next Chicken Coop
You Can Have Backyard Chicken Coops Even in the City
Have you always wanted to have a backyard chicken coop but thought you couldn’t since you live in the city? While some cities don’t allow any farm animals, many cities do, and you’re allowed to have chickens.
However, some of these cities that allow chickens to be kept do not allow roosters due to neighbors’ crowing and complaints. You’ll want to check with your city to make sure you’re not breaking any animal nuisance laws.
Keeping chickens vary from wanting fresh eggs to wanting a different kind of pet to desiring a bit of the country in the city. Not only can there be savings on the grocery bill by producing eggs for family use, but many neighbors are joining together to create chicken projects. They’re splitting costs of the materials to build the backyard chicken coops and the cost of the feed and incidentals.
If you figure that you want to have a coop for hens of your own, they’re not at all difficult to build, plus you can design your own plans to make the enclosure look like a little house or barn rather than the traditional coop you may remember. All it takes is a little planning before you get started.
You’ll need to make sure you plan enough space for each chicken as overcrowded conditions can lead to sickness among the chickens. The general rule of thumb for space is to have approximately four square feet of space for each chicken though it never hurts to have more. As you’re building the chicken coop, take into consideration the area where you live.
If you live in a northern state where snow and ice are a regular part of the weather, you’re going to need a coop that’s adequately insulated to keep the chickens warm. You don’t want to have to bring them indoors for them to survive. If you happen to live in an area where the winters are not as harsh, but the summers are scorchers, you’ll have to make sure the coop is built to provide maximum cooling.
When building the home for your chickens, you don’t have to spend a lot of money buying brand new materials. You can make it from recycled materials, such as wood leftover from a home project – even hinges salvaged from the old kitchen or bathroom makeovers can be used as hinges for a chicken coop door.
Whatever materials you use to build your backyard chicken coops, make sure you’ve provided adequate ventilation in the snug home for your chickens; otherwise, you can get an ammonia build-up that’s not good for you or the chickens.
Why Choose a Small Chicken Coop Over a Larger One?
The practice of using a small chicken coop rather than a larger one is becoming more popular. There are several reasons why these coops are gaining in popularity. One reason is that hectic, busy lifestyles are better suited for these kinds of coops.
The reason cited most often for having smaller coops is because they’re not as hard to keep in a sanitary condition as the larger coops are. With a smaller coop, once the chickens are out of it, you can clean the coop in a shorter amount of time. There won’t be much (if any) scrubbing to do after the coop is washed down with the garden hose.
Cost is another reason the smaller coop wins out over the bigger one. They’re not as expensive to build because there isn’t the need for all the lumber larger coops to construct them.
There’s a smaller amount of hardware to be used and a smaller area needed for ventilation. You can put a smaller coop together in a day versus the length of time it takes to build a standard size coop.
Because of the size, smaller chicken coops can be kept in nearly any location where they’re allowed. Even a condominium with what’s commonly called a postage stamp backyard has room enough to support the existence of a small chicken coop. With a smaller coop, if you build it in one area of your yard but notice a problem with that area, a tinier coop is a lot easier to move than a larger one.
Small chicken coops are great for people who want to have chickens but don’t have the time or the space to give to larger coops. Not only are these scaled down versions of bigger coops easier to maintain, easier to repair when something needs to be fixed, but they also make it easier for the owners to provide food and water for the chickens.
For someone who wants to have more than four chickens, smaller coops are not a good option. These coops are specifically meant for no more than five or six chickens – maximum. If you want to have chickens specifically to make money from selling eggs, it’s better to go with the larger choice.
These coops are built with material just as sturdy as the bigger coops and are meant to last just as long. The small chicken coop is not an inferior version of the larger chicken coops, but rather a scaled-down version.
The smaller coops operate much like the larger ones. They offer shelter, a place to nest, and safety from natural enemies. If you’ve always wanted to have but assumed you’d have to stick with the larger coops, now you know you don’t have to.
How to Pick Chicken Coop Plans
You don’t have to be an architect to build a place for your chickens to reside. You don’t even have to be an experienced farmer. Many do it yourself chicken coop plans are available for purchase – or if you’re the adventurous type and you’re good with measuring and dimensions, you can even create plans for a unique coop. By following a set of plans, it won’t take long before your coop is complete.
There is no one right way to build a chicken coop. They come in all sizes, shapes, and styles. Some are plain with absolutely no frills, while others seem to be a work of backyard art.
The first step is to decide if you need a small, medium, or large place for your chickens. How will you know what size to pick? The size you would want to build will depend on how many chickens the coop needs to house.
If you purchase a set of chicken coop plans, make sure the plans aren’t the bare minimum. The plans should cover all details, including the building of the chicken run. While chicken coops don’t require a Harvard degree to build, it’s not something you want to build by guesswork. To create a proper coop, you’re going to have to have some plans.
For those who think that any old set of plans will do, you could end up with a chicken house that won’t be suitable for use. The right kind of chicken plans will include height and width directions, where the ventilation should go, the best side of the coop to place the window if you want those, and where and how to build perches and nesting boxes. All of that is part of building a coop.
Some plans show how to build a coop that looks like the letter A, while others show how to build a simple box structure. Some of the fancier plans show off coops built in an old general store’s style, and some look like a miniature home complete with a porch and wall decorations hanging on the outside.
To know what plans you should get, you need to ask yourself the following questions: How much money can I afford to budget for this project? How many hens will I be keeping? Will I be building this myself, or will I hire the job out? If you’ve never built a coop before but want a fancier one or a custom-built one, you might want to find an experienced coop builder.
Regardless of how you decide your choice among the thousands of chicken coop plans available, the great news is that most coops are not that costly and can be built throughout a single weekend.
Tips for Chicken Coop Designs
Before choosing one design over another, there are a few points to consider that will affect your decision. Since a chicken coop can come in a range of sizes and weights, you need to figure out if there’s room enough to support the coop. If you rent a home or apartment, you’ll need to purchase or make a coop that can quickly move from one location to the next.
Secondly, the layout of the design and how much room it will offer per chicken is essential. You can’t crowd several chickens in a coop designed to house two to four chickens. The design will have to provide for a roomy enough nesting area.
Even though several chickens will often only use the two or three nesting boxes, sometimes that’s not the case, and you’ll want to make sure the chickens have plenty of nests. You can get several nests built either side by side or on top of one another in stacks to save space.
No matter what type of design you have for a chicken coop, make sure you use quality material in building it. It’s okay to use salvaged or recycled items as long as they’re in good shape and can provide the chickens with adequate shelter and warmth.
Choose a design that can withstand variations in weather. Some plans are very attractive and created to have that wow factor, but they’re not sturdy enough to last. You don’t want to buy or make a design that will only be around temporarily.
If you’re not an expert in building and drawing up a detailed set of plans is a struggle, then you should look for a pre-made collection of designs and pick on that you like. You can find designs in hardback books, eBooks you can download faster (and cheaper), and you can check out seed or hardware stores for designs for sale.
You can buy some designs that will teach you how to build a chicken coop for well under a hundred dollars. There are some designs for coops that can cost close to a thousand dollars. The amount of money spent on the design should be decided by the hens’ purpose – whether they’re for pleasure or business.
Chicken coop designs can make the job of building a coop go a lot smoother than guessing which piece of wood goes where. With all of the choices, you should find one that you like and suits your needs.
How to Make a Chicken Coop
First, you will need to decide how big you would like your ideal chicken coop to be. Some chicken farmers enjoy using a shed, while others use a small shelter. What type of shelter will work best for your chickens depends on several factors, including the breed, their needs, and your wallet. Before you despair, know that it’s possible to make a chicken coop without spending a fortune.
Each full-grown hen will need two to three square feet. It’s essential to think about how many hens you would like to house. This will determine how big their shelter should be. Now is the time to choose your design plan.
While you can create your own plan, you’re probably better off buying a plan unless you’re an architect. Choose a plan that fits your image of the ideal chicken coop. Once you have your plan, it’s time to gather your materials.
Some companies throw out scrap wood and building materials that they can’t use. Try asking the owner if you can have their scraps in exchange for hauling it away. You can also ask neighbors and friends for any leftover scrap materials from their recent projects.
While you may get a fair amount of scrap material you can use, you will still end up having to purchase at least some of your material from a hardware store. This isn’t the time to scrimp on your feathery friends’ needs.
Now that you have your materials, it’s time to begin building your chicken coop. But before you pick up that power drill, check all of your measurements one final time. Are you sure you have ample space? Where will your chicken run be? Will placing your coop here obstruct your neighbor’s view?
If you’re ready, then it’s time to start on the frame. Be precise in your measurements. While a few inches here or there doesn’t seem like much of a difference during the building process, it will seem like a big difference later.
As you build the home your future pets will reside in; you need to consider the climate where you live. A well-ventilated coop is a must if you live in a warm climate. If you live in a cooler climate, then you’ll want to consider insulating your coop.
There are many considerations to take into account when building your chicken coop. But building your chicken coop has plenty of rewards, too. Remember that little details are of great importance when it comes to knowing how to make a chicken coop.
How to Build a Chicken Coop
Scout out the place where you want to build a chicken coop. Beginners often decide to build a coop without checking out the ground saturation beforehand. If the area tends to pool water, it’s a lousy location to put up a coop.
Chickens have to have a dry space. You’ll need a level area to build the coop on, but never create a coop directly on the ground. Have you ever had a snack or rodent get into an outside building or shed? These same predators will quickly get inside chicken coops built flat on the ground no matter how much chicken fencing you put up around the coop.
Predators don’t just arrive on the ground either. Hawks and other large birds will snatch smaller chickens and take off with them. When the chickens are outside of the coop, they need to be protected from these kinds of predators.
Humidity inside a coop isn’t healthy for chickens. You’ll want to make sure you have some opening for air to stir through. Some chicken owners use a simple vent, while other chicken owners put in a screened window that will open.
Those who take shortcuts carve a small hole in the plywood and nail a screen over that, but this isn’t a good idea. The ventilation opening needs to be one that can be closed in the event of bad weather or built in such a way that rainwater and heavy drafts can’t get inside the structure.
Since chickens can’t fly as well as other birds, make sure you don’t place the perches too high off the floor where they can get hurt if they have a fall. Perches shouldn’t be built any higher than three to four feet off the floor.
Nesting boxes should be built lower than the perches (to prevent them from becoming the place the chickens prefer to sleep) and should be deep enough to make the chicken feel comfortable.
When constructing nesting boxes, make sure to slant the top of it because chickens love to roost on the boxes’ flat surface. The reason for the slanted top is because if chickens roost on the top as they do their business, you’ll end up with quite an accumulation of droppings to clean off continually.
Give the front of the nesting box a ledge so that the chicken can balance there when getting in and out of the nest. Follow these instructions, and you’ll have built a chicken coop that lasts.
Building Chicken Coops the Easy Way
There are thousands of plans, designs, and ideas for buildings used in housing chickens. They range from elaborate two-story structures right on down to a small doghouse type dwelling surrounded by a few feet of chicken wire. Before you invest a lot of money and time setting up expensive coops, learn about building chicken coops the easy way, and you can enjoy the fruits of your labor sooner.
Chickens are not demanding critters. Their needs are pretty basic. They need a place to get in out of the elements where the freezing weather won’t harm their eggs. Next on the list, they have to have space for their nests to lay eggs.
Since both eggs and chickens are considered tasty morsels by a wide variety of predators, the place built for chickens needs to be sturdy and well protected. Add a little food and water, and they’re happy campers.
There are standard ways to build a chicken coop, or you can create your own from scratch. Decide how large the dimensions should be for the area set aside for the chicken coop.
Take care not to put a chicken coop too close to your home for a couple of reasons. The noise can get pretty loud at times and downwind, a chicken coop doesn’t smell like roses. On the other hand, you don’t want to put the coop too far away either – both for the sake of convenience and so that you can keep an eye out for predators.
No matter how fancy a chicken coop is, don’t forget that it has to be cleaned regularly to cut down on odor and bug infestations. One of the mistakes those new to raising chickens make is they build coops where the floor is completely level.
Isn’t that the way to build a house? Yes, but not a hen house – because when you go to wash it out, all of that stuff will pool right at your feet. Not a pretty thought or sight. Instead, you want to build the floor with a tilt at the back of it.
Building a chicken coop the easy way includes an easy cleanup. With a slightly tilted floor at the rear of the house, when you spray it down during cleaning, all that icky stuff will wash down the slant and right out the back door of the coop.
Put a chicken wire fence all around the coop to keep unwelcome guests out. Remember that some animals will dig beneath fences to get into the chicken coop, so play it smart and bury the fence partly below the ground. Building chicken coops the easy way makes the work of owning chickens easier in the long run.
There are free chicken coop instructions, and they’re available to you in this very article. Have you thought about building a chicken coop but held off because you didn’t know anything about what kind of material to use, how to put the material together to make the coop or because you thought it might cost more than you wanted to spend?
Building a chicken coop doesn’t have to dent your bank account, and some of the best things in life are still free. To keep down the cost of building a coop, the material you use can be anything that will provide shelter.
Some people have even used old lawnmower sheds. If you’d rather have a nicer coop, though, you can create a structure without relying on something that’s already standing. Go to a lumberyard or an area where new homes are being built.
Ask if you can have the scrap pieces of lumber they’re not going to use. Yes, many lumberyards and home construction companies throw unused wood away. Not only could you get the material free, but you’d help keep the scrap wood out of the landfills.
While you’re at the home construction site, ask if you can have any leftover shingles, too. Most of these end up in the garbage as well. Some cities have a waste exchange program where members can exchange or buy useful, secondhand items that would typically end up as trash.
You can either nail up wood for the chicken roosts such as a two by four or two by two or use small tree branches nailed in place. Don’t build the roosting perches directly above where you’ll need to reach in to gather eggs (for smaller coops) or where you’ll walk in (for larger coops).
You can find old windows that aren’t suitable for a house for the windows but are perfect for a coop at some thrift stores. The first thing you need to do is to build the frame for the walls and floor.
The frame and size of the walls depend on how large or small you want your chicken coop. The front and back wall of the coop are usually longer and the sides smaller. Secure the walls and frame to the flooring.
The materials used to build a coop can be old wood boards or plywood if you don’t have enough boards. Once the building is complete, and the perches are in place, install the nesting boxes. Inside the boxes, place straw for the eggs. With these free chicken coop instructions, you’ll be on your way to enjoying your new chickens fast!
Purchasing the Best Chicken Coop Kits
Chicken coop kits are materials gathered together in one order that you can use to build a place to hold chickens. All of the pieces to build the coop are enclosed in the kit and all you have to do is put the kit together. These are a great idea for anyone – including people who aren’t handy with a skill saw or measuring precision.
Many kits are available for selection, and they come in small, medium, or large choices. These kits also vary in design. Some chicken coop kits are constructed with the intention that you can move them from one location to another.
These kits are popular for those who live in cities and want to change the coop area over time. Moveable kits are the smallest of the kits since they have to be light enough to be transported from one spot to another. Other kits are larger, heavier, and put together to remain in one place.
Whether to buy a portable coop or a larger one should be based on the number of chickens planned for the coop. Having more than two or three chickens means you’ll need a larger coop than a smaller, portable one.
Selecting the right kit to buy also depends on the plans you have for the chickens. If you plan to keep the chickens for your enjoyment and a supply of eggs for your family, you can have a kit that provides a small coop. If you want to sell eggs, you’ll need to buy the best kit you can get one that offers plenty of room for the chickens.
When deciding which of the chicken coop kits is the right one for you, don’t focus only on today’s needs but also look toward the years to come. If you think that keeping chickens may be something you’re going to want to grow as a business, then you should get the largest kit you can find.
Not all kits are the same, and some are better than others. Compare the kits as you do your research and make sure the kit was designed with expert knowledge about keeping chickens.
Don’t buy kits that don’t properly prepare for the correct ventilation installment, and don’t buy kits that make cleaning the coop a monumental task. There are two primary purposes of the coop – to shelter chickens in comfort and safety.
These kits are an excellent idea for people who want to have a chicken coop but don’t know how to build one or don’t want to take the time to do it. These kits are easy to assemble and provide everything you’ll need.
The kits come with the lumber already precut, so there’s no need to measure, and they provide all the hardware to put the lumber together. Some kits also offer technical support, so an expert will be on hand to guide the purchaser if there are any problems. Purchasing chicken coop kits are a quick alternative to the time it takes to build one yourself.
Setting Up Portable Chicken Coops in Your Backyard
Portable chicken coops boast many advantages for new or aspiring chicken farmers. The benefits include free fertilizer, pest control, and, best of all fresh eggs. Don’t be fooled into thinking you need a large farm or several acres to devote to your chickens. Many designs can fit easily into your backyard, even if you live in a large city.
Portable chicken coops may also be called chicken tractors. Some chicken tractor designs even attach to wheels for easy relocation when your chickens need a fresh patch of grass. Chicken tractors are often built in an A shape, and some don’t have a bottom.
Before you even consider setting up portable chicken coops in your backyard, you will want to check your city ordinances. Some cities prohibit raising livestock while others don’t.
You’ll want to ensure you aren’t breaking any laws by keeping hens on your property. Even if no city ordinances are preventing you from raising livestock, you will still want to keep your chicken coop looking and smelling nice, so you don’t irk your neighbors.
Another consideration before setting up your portable chicken coop is what will happen to your hens after their egg-laying years. Hens stop producing eggs around six or seven years of age, yet they can live around fifteen years. This is a very important consideration if you will be housing only a few chickens in your backyard and keeping them for egg production.
If you have or plan on building a portable chicken coop, you’ll need to provide your chickens with some protection from the elements. This shelter should be a source of warmth during colder seasons.
Insulate your chicken coop or use a heat lamp to keep your hens warm. Some chicken farmers even report moving their portable chicken coops into garages or sheds to temporarily protect hens from the elements or prevent predators from accessing them easily.
Also, keep in mind is that you will most likely need straw, pine needles, or some padding to put in the bottom of your nest boxes. The eggs are less likely to crack if you have some padding underneath the hens.
Before setting up your portable chicken coop, you need to think about how you will protect it from rats and mice. You can’t always protect your portable chicken coops, but you can take precautions such as covering holes and gaps with sheet metal, feeding your chickens in the early morning and late afternoon, and only feeding chickens what they will eat.
As you can see, before setting up portable chicken coops in your backyard, there are some special considerations you need to make, so you don’t end up an unhappy chicken farmer.
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